G-Poppers … October 23rd, 2015

 Jonathots Daily Blog

(2731)

Jon close up

G-Pop is a wee bit concerned.

His children are once again choosing up sides, sniffing out the dogma of their favorite political party and barking out beliefs.

Issue by issue, debates are offering a collage of opinions with no real respect for the central issue that should permeate the hearts of all humanity:

Are we killing people?

Nothing progresses until we stop killing:

  • No financial campaign is worthwhile if there’s a death toll.
  • No honoring of traditions or regaling of the Constitution is noble if we’re filling up body bags.
  • The central issue of the human race is learning how to talk to one another instead of pulling a knife, citing some righteous motivation.

For 16 years, two Presidents from two different parties have ruled and reigned in this country.

Even though G-Pop is sure that each one could present a resume of his efforts, in the long run, one of these men began a sermon of death and the other has trailed behind with his own chorus of “amens.”

President Bush and President Obama have both pursued a fruitless campaign of irreconcilable mayhem in the Middle East, which has paralyzed this country with the preoccupation that we are a superior military power–as we continue to lose battles. Not since World War II has the United States been part of a full-fledged victory through military conflict.

So we must cease to believe that the Republicans are good because they stand for God and the Democrats are evil because they allow for atheism. And we also must realize that merely taking stands on social issues or giving health care to the masses is of little use if we’re taking the children of the poor and placing them in harm’s way in a foreign land.

G-Pop will tell you why he believes in Jesus: Jesus angers both Republicans and Democrats.

In one moment, Jesus forgives a woman caught in adultery, infuriating the right.

In the next moment, he refuses to give money to the poor, insisting that it’s a never-ending process which should be pursued with wisdom rather than wild abandon, causing every liberal to object tearfully.

Jesus had one central theme: “I have not come to destroy men’s lives, but to save them.”

So the same Jesus who believed that “those who live by the gun will die by the gun” also contends that children are sacred and reflect the beauty of heaven.

Just as little ones should not be killed at their elementary schools, we should also find a way not to kill them in the womb.

Obviously, this approach pisses off both campaigns.

So G-Pop challenges his children to escape the futility of joining a side to instead pursue a purpose:

1. Is there any way to consider all the facts before we start following the fad?

2. Is there any way to favor one side in this particular case without offending the other permanently?

3. Can we move forward without rejecting what we know is true for the human family?

There is only one issue in the next presidential campaign: what is the best way to stop killing?

As long as we’re killing, no matter how noble we may feel our mission, we have become the enemy of the One who created us.

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Jesonian: The Original Millennials… October 11th, 2015

 Jonathots Daily Blog

(2719)

millennials

Using information provided and having a general understanding of the longevity of their lives, we can pretty well assume that Peter, Andrew, James and John were somewhere between the ages of 15 and 25 when they met Jesus of Nazareth.

And since they ended up living in the 1st Century A.D., they are “the original millennials.”

So it’s very intriguing to consider how Jesus handled these young men, who obviously had little interest in religious matters, God, traditions or anything but fishing.

Yes, they were typical young folk:

  • They were fishing for purpose.
  • They were fishing for compliments.
  • They were fishing for ways to avoid responsibility.
  • And in their case, they were literally fishing for fish.

They would never have encountered the Nazarene if he had held meetings at the local synagogue or started a store-front in Capernaum. So how did Jesus handle his millennials?

We find that answer in the Good Book, in Luke the 5th Chapter.

1. He went where they were.

They lived by the sea, so he went to the sea.

2. He worked with what they knew.

Since their business was fishing and they were accustomed to boats, he asked to borrow their boat so he could teach from it, which in turn created a climate for:

3. A captive audience.

Yes, to a certain degree they were trapped in the boat, doing him a favor, but at the same time, hearing the message. Yet Jesus did not stop there and make it a theological encounter. Instead:

4. He profited them in a way they could understand.

After the sermon he told them to take their nets and cast them into the water for a great haul of fish. Thus he proved that the best parts of believing in God are the benefits that come through practical application. Which ended up with:

5. Jesus joining them as they joined him.

And instead of holding a revival at the synagogue or storefront, Peter’s home became their headquarters. It’s much easier to minister to people in an environment where they feel comfortable taking off their shoes.

It is unlikely we will be able to conventionally reach a younger generation that has already given up on the idea of organized religion. Perhaps it is their mission to show us the fallacy of religion without reality.

So if you’re a minister, stop inviting people to church and instead, write a blog reviewing movies, TV shows or video games.

Meet the millennials at the sea, where they’re doing their fishing.

And benefit them by showing them ways to enhance their relationships, children and families.

And then, don’t force them to come to your institution, but instead, set up a way for them to have faith … in their own homes.

 

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Check Us Out … August 4, 2014

 Jonathots Daily Blog

(2312)

boy tying shoelaces

If you tell us we can’t, we’ll do it more

Tell us we can–why bother?

Surround us with love, we might prosper

Surround us with hate, we just might discover love.

Give us less and we start nurturing abundance

Give us abundance, we are drained of the energy to excel

Preach a sermon, we go to sleep

Produce a vision, we wake up prepared

Tell us we’re great and we’ll develop an attitude

Tell us it’s impossible and we just scratch the itch

Steal our heart, we fight back

Mess with our mind, we get revenge by thinking

Steal our soul, we create God

Laugh at us, we push harder

Believe in us, we may bring you along

Our colors don’t matter

Our nations are just land

Our religion is a process of hope

Our dreams are ever-changing sunrises

Ours is a family–a race of becomers

We are human

It’s up to us

We can’t walk on water

But we sure as hell will try

We have the power to welcome or deny our Creator

We are cast to Earth but not destined for mere mischief

We are …

What we are willing to be

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Populie: Vox Populi … July 30, 2014

 Jonathots Daily Blog

(2307)

The Thinker

The term is Latin for “the voice of the people.”

So today we will discuss the populie of vox populi.

I, for one, would find it fascinating to actually hear the voice of the people. Instead I am inundated in a news cycle which has a simple philosophy: “Who’s screaming the loudest? And please put a camera on them.”

Even though I would not call myself an authority on the American public, having traveled across this country for decades, interacting with hundreds of thousands of people, I do feel confident to advance the following:

  • America is not conservative.
  • America is not liberal.
  • America is not Republican.
  • America is not Democrat.
  • America is not religious.
  • America is not secular.
  • America is not intellectual.
  • America is not ignorant.

All the extremes pushed to the forefront in the pursuit of gaining ratings and pleasing advertisers have absolutely nothing to do with the actual vox populi.

The average American of every race and intellect has two desires:

A.  Give me a climate in which I can be financially solvent and pusue my interests and goals.

B.  Let me do this pursuing with as little interferance and as peacably as possible.

If you have a name for that philosophical stance, you can probably capsulize the American spirit.

But religion, politics and entertainment feel the need to generate a national angst which they feel either fills pews, jams the voting box or sells cinema tickets.

Honestly, when you get out there in the middle of humanity, these issues, ideas, conflicts and even preferences don’t register.

Truthfully, we often tune in the news, watch a movie or listen to some pundit rally for his or her cause at our own peril.

If you’re going to run a wise course through this raging gauntlet of screaming extremes, please take a look at three principles which will aid you in negotiating the obstacles of fury:

1. See how something feels in silence.

Never respond immediately to a fiery sermon.. Never read something on the Internet, assume it’s true and pass the gossip along. Find a quiet place, run it over in your mind and realize that if your spirit doubts the validity of the extreme statement, then your spirit is probably right.

Silence is the environment where ideas can be segregated off into those inspirations that benefit us from the clamor that feed on our prejudices.

2. Can this idea being trumpeted be accomplished without hurting people?

We have become too cavalier in our treatment of human life and the feelings of others. I have never believed that the end justifies the means, but I will go so far as to say that the end does not even justify the bad attitudes. If you find yourself angry enough that you lose civility, you have probably swallowed a devilish glob of nonsense.

3. Has this concept worked in the past, is it able to be applied now and does it have a future?

If you cannot find a grandfather to your idea, then fathering it is not terribly intelligent. And if you feel led to father an idea, understand that your grandchildren will be left to pick up the results–and the bill.

There are things in the past that certainly needed to be changed. But there are truths that endure from the past which cannot be thrown aside just so we can call ourselves progressive.

The voice of the people is not determined by the loudest screamer. We will never convince the media to stop pointing the camera at the most outlandish sight.

But we can listen for the voice of the people in the whisper of common sense in our own soul, telling us to pursue excellence … and pass up really obnoxious ideas.

 

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Jesonian: Fire, Wind and Water … July 13, 2014

 Jonathots Daily Blog

(2290) 

PentecostFire, wind and water–the three ingredients of the Day of Pentecost.

It was the appointed time in the history of human kind when God once and for all infused His spirit inside our spirit, to create what He hoped would be a spirit of revival.

  • The fire–the spoken word through our tongue.
  • The rushing mighty wind, displaying the power of God.
  • And the water of baptism, to wash away the enormity of sin.

But you see, this all just sounds like a sermon–the kind of clever parallels that ministers and theologians put together in the privacy of their “den of simplicity,” to try to impress congregations with a bit of insight to mingle with their devotion to God.

Honestly, it’s just too religious. Truthfully, it bores.

Because if you get fire, wind and water out of order, nothing is effective.

To lead with fire–or talking–burns everybody up.

Too much wind of religious practice blows out the fire, leaving just a hint of smoke.

And water can just drown us, dousing everything so that it’s impossible to ignite the flame.

What I would like to do is take the religion and holiness out of all this speak and instead, make it clear exactly what it means to be Jesonian, a follower of Jesus, instead of a generic Christian–one who reveres Christ.

HandBecause if the ideas of Jesus of Nazareth did not set us free by offering truth, but were just another path of righteousness, then perhaps the notion that one well-beaten path is as good as another would be well-founded.

But Jesus didn’t come to start another religion. He came to generate a reasonable and transferable lifestyle.

So here’s the real fire:

No one is better than anyone else.

These words set ablaze all the prejudice, superiority, self-righteousness and arrogance that exist in our world, and purge the forest of misunderstanding.

Here’s the wind:

Find out what you can do and do it well.

After all, just speaking, promising, blustering and preaching don’t carry any mighty effect. But the confidence you gain by realizing that you have a talent and purpose, and then multiplying that ability to the point where you believe you can do it well, creates a breeze of creativity and hope to those around you.

And the water:

Get what you need out of life and then share the balance with everyone else.

Life is neither about fasting nor is it about hoarding. It is about securing the air mask on your own face before you try to help others breathe.

It is knowing exactly what satisfies your soul and not feeling the need to have more–or less–but if you do have more, strategically getting rid of it to the souls that God sends your way.

The Jesonian lifestyle is realizing that the power of God is in the fire, the wind and the water. But rather than teaching about it figuratively, we go out and speak and live that “no one is better than anyone else” as we find out what we can do, discover opportunities to do it well, and in the process get what we want–and give away the rest.

It is why I am a follower of Jesus. Every other philosophy and religion deals in too much symbolism.

These three abide.

These three can change our world.

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The Money Brick … January 11, 2014

Jonathots Daily Blog

(2117)

Some people are stained glassbrick of money

Others, just stained

Either way, we’re hurtin’

Our flaws bring us pain

Or is it that our pain invites the flaws?

Who knows?

Stained-glassers focus on the flaws

Stainers, on the pain

But both remain

And it is useless to counsel a leper

And mean-spirited to offer a good book to a blind man

I awakened in the middle of the night, finding myself deep in thought. I like that. I believe life should be a balance between discouragement and satisfaction, exhorting us toward greater discovery. As I was quietly lying in my bed reflecting, a sense of well-being and warmth filled my soul.

Some folks would become cynical if I suggested God was speaking to me. They would insist I was just being prodded by my own conscience. To each his own.

But the revelation was that it is beautiful that I am traveling, excellent to share my life with tens of thousands of people, smart to write daily columns and ingenious to always be trying to update the material and the message to reach a specific gathered audience.

Then a yearning came. I don’t know how else to describe it. It was the realization that even after all these projects and outreaches are done, I still have time on my hands. After all, the bills are paid. I often have a little extra money.

Time and money–the dynamic duo. When they work together, lives can be changed.

In that moment of quiet, I was strongly impressed to take a small purse of cash–what I now refer to as a “money brick”–each and every week and invest it in human beings.. Here’s why:

  • Some people will not listen to words.
  • There are those who refrain from partaking of a melody.
  • And very few individuals will tolerate a sermon.

But everyone appreciates a few dollars offered as encouragement and evidence that they are not alone.

I don’t have much; I’m not going to pay off people’s debts. But sometimes what the stained-glassers and the stainers need is just a dollar or two–to let them know that someone sees them, cares and wishes them God speed.

Money does talk. It speaks a universal language.

So I thought that the generous folks who contribute to my cause would not mind me setting aside a specific amount of coinage each week, to bless the folks I encounter on a daily basis. I have requested that God send such individuals my way.

We shall see.

I will offer the brick … and ask God to provide the mortar. 

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Sunday Mourning … October 27, 2013

Jonathots Daily Blog

(2049)

Sunday mourning

Jesus is dead

Though he arose

As he said

Here is his body

In the bread

Drink his blood

That was shed

Gather, listen to the tune

Bow your head

And softly croon

“Rock of ages

Cleft for me”

Bass or treble

I assume it to be

Repeat after me

The magical words

Stained glass windows

With lilies and birds

Somber you came

And quiet you go

Reach the exit

End the show

A sermon of thoughts

Three in all

Very meaningful

But can you recall

The message shared

On this day

The names of those

For which we pray

A doughnut, some coffee

A word or two

A brief sense of one

And then we are through

Yes, God is our Father

On this we agree

But He works late at night

So quiet we should be

No running in the house

No whispering to your spouse

It is the way of the Lord

Though we feel quite bored

It is not for us to understand

It is not time to strike up the band

We worship a King

Our offering we bring

For we are lost

And He paid the cost

And never will we celebrate

Instead we carefully commemorate

Please, each of us redeem

From our unholy scheme

To achieve a pious conclusion

Our temporary absolution

To return again next week

Weaker and feeling meek

So we inherit the earth

In heaven at rebirth

Sunday mourning

Tears in our eyes

Is it true emotion?

Or fear of our lies?

 

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